On Tuesday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors will consider approving a lease-purchase agreement with World View Enterprises and amend contractual language. The agreement includes an amendment to:
1) memorialize the Commencement Date after the substantial completion of construction of the building
2) establish the square footage size of the finished building which is necessary to calculate the rent amounts during the lease term
3) provide an inventory of the furniture, fixtures and equipment provided by Pima County.
According to the inventory included for the supervisors’ review, residents of the fifth poorest metropolitan area in the country, have purchase top-of-the-line furnishings for World View’s use. Those expensive furnishing, purchased mostly from retailer, Goodman’s Interior Structures, are itemized on a total of 8 pages.
High-end Herman Miller brand furniture and big ticket technology fills page after page.
Normally, when a landlord agrees to build-to-suit for a lessee, furniture is not part of the bargain. However, it is well-known that Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and his team do things a little differently for cronies.
Supervisor Ally Miller, just recently questioned why Pima County supervisors were asked to approve yet one more no-bid contract with Goodman. Miller was given the run-around by Huckelberry and at no point did he mention the purchase of furniture for World View.
What makes the furnishings more surprising is the fact that the Goldwater Institute sued the County over its alleged illegal sweetheart deal with World View. Goldwater claims that the Pima County/World View deal violates Arizona’s Gift Clause.
A Pima County Superior Court Judge recently ruled in favor of Goldwater’s claim that the County didn’t properly execute the lease as outlined in ARS 11-256. According to state statute, the County is required to obtain an independent appraisal of the lease value, advertise the facility for lease and hold a public auction. They are allowed to accept a bid that is at least 90% of Fair Market Value. This process wasn’t followed.
The judge ruled that statute must be followed.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors then voted in a 3-2 vote to appeal the ruling. The appeal is pending as the other two claims by Goldwater; the violation of the Gift Clause and violation of emergency procurement statutes move forward in the Superior Court.
Chuck Huckelberry and Sharon Bronson turned over the keys to Jane Poynter and Taber McCallum, the principals of World View Enterprises in late December of 2016. While many residents struggled to provide Christmas for their families; their hard earned tax dollars were used to provide this gift to World View.
The work on this facility was expedited to ensure the facility was completed before it could be stopped by the Court.
Residents may recall the lavish invitation only party recently held by World View management, with a room full of the who’s who of the crony capitalists in Pima County. Wine poured freely and the entertainment was provided by the Tucson Symphony as the sun was setting.
Who among us wouldn’t celebrate having been given the keys to a 142 thousand square foot facility designed to specifications without investing a penny? This is 7 thousand square feet more than the original agreement supervisors approved in January, 2016.
Now we are finding out just how much taxpayers paid to outfit and decorate offices and work space for a company that refused to turn over any financial statements for review on behalf of those loaning them the money to build the facility: the Pima County taxpayers.
The Goldwater lawsuit has 3 prongs:
1. Gift Clause
2. Emergency Procurement Violation
3. Leasing of County Taxpayer owned property (ARS 11-256)
Goldwater sought summary judgement on prong 3 and the judge found in favor of Goldwater as described above. Then supervisors appealed that judgement and it is moving through appellate court. The other 2 claims are still moving in the superior court.